Reply To: The Principle of Honor: A Poor Substitute . . . ” with Craig Deininger, Ph.D.”
Thank you, James. Now we are in it! I read your post and nod in agreement throughout as I simultaneously calculate on where to travel first: tropics? arctic? desert? personal myth? roadmaps? callings? So many to choose from. And fair enough, it’s good for me to get a taste of my own medicine. One thing I know for sure and that ties all this together (whether in your post or in my mythblast) is the earnestness to undertake both the journeys and the reflections—experiencing the myriad terrains (the adventure) and reflecting on the broader, uh, “things” that organize them. And I think it’s their balanced admixture that is most valuable.
These “broader things,” I could say “metaphors,” “themes,” “archetypes,” etc., and be correct. But again, it’s that desire (if not obsession) of mine to just “go there,” to the terrain, and accrue a sort of knowledge of these terms not on their terms, so to speak. I guess what I’m doing here is making an adventure of the reflection—or lifting the conceptual and setting it down in the terrain-category.
And to this I’m thinking, for example, of James Hillman’s insistence on “archetypal” in place of “archetype”—a move which has so many values. Foremost to me being that it forces one to engage what that term means more thoughtfully, concretely, descriptively, to find a language that really experiences it, and honors what it is as opposed to just stamping a word on it, i.e., noun-ing it, and presuming that takes care of everything.
Okay, I’ll exit that direction since I can never find a satisfactory place to conclude when I go that way. And more importantly, you never used the word “archetype” in your post in the first place!
Perhaps what I should have said from the start is simply: “Hey, let’s talk about the ‘roadmaps’ you mentioned in your post.” But these days, I truly am obligated to continually remind myself of that unavoidable meta-context that subsumes the entire journey-roadmap (adventure-archetype—oh no, I used the noun) relationship.
Point being, your post addresses this relationship between the journey and the maps we extract from the myths (metaphors, themes, archetypes, etc.), reminding us that these maps are a tremendous help AND that they do not ensure the ease of the adventure: “Metaphors can offer assistance; but how you use them can pose a challenge and you are on your own using simple solutions to complicated problems that may not always guide you to where you thought you might wind up.”
Indeed, we rarely do end up where we thought we would. And I would also add that rarely do we get there the way we thought we would. That was certainly the case for Parzival. And for Alice and Dorothy. I’m also reminded here of a line from Jung: “It is the longissima via, not straight but snakelike . . . a path whose labyrinthine twists and turns are not lacking in terrors.” But then, these patterns surely make for a better story.
However, it’s less about “better” and more about “my/his/hers/their story.” And that is the authority of the unique, of individuation—aspects that you also address writing about how each of Arthur’s knights necessarily take their own path, alone. As it also emphasizes the importance of breaking free of the herd—the social-imposed stuff. But, I might add, not entirely breaking free of it—a point I think is analogous to your thoughts above on employing the metaphors on our adventures. That they are not entirely “answers,” but that they provide the general layout and direction within which we can take any (of a literally infinite) number of sub-directions, which in itself is a pretty promising formula for adventure.
I have to get to pressing things, but want to post this first to keep the conversation in stride, incomplete though it is, and surely imprecise in train of thought. Didn’t even get to “honor.” In all fairness, I came in from yesterday’s plane trip at 4 am this morning. I’ll be more precise tomorrow evening! Thanks for all the great content and insights…